My whole entire life just got incredibly busy! More on that later! But in the mean time, Nikon Canada sent me the latest Nikon 1 camera to play with. The V3 is a sleek new mirrorless camera from Nikon and it is a tremendous upgrade from the V1 that I currently own. When I was contacted about doing the product test, I had my choice of the 1 Series lenses to try out. I opted for the 18.5 f/1.8 lens. I wanted to see how a fast aperture would work on the little camera. In a nutshell, it works great! There are so many features about this camera that are really impressive. One is the wifi. Having the built-in ability to transfer and view files on your phone from the camera is awesome. You can use the free wifi utility app to take pictures too, though the functionality of that feature is quite limited. More details to come about this experience though.
I shot the above photo this morning using the FT1 mount adapter I also requested from Nikon. I’ve wanted to try this since it came out and haven’t had the opportunity. As I have a bunch of Full Frame Nikon glass at my disposal when you strap them onto the tiny mirrorless system it unleashes all kinds of creative opportunities. I can see two really practical applications in the incredibly awesome telephoto reach this combination of a tiny sensor and big lenses gives you. (2.7x crop factor makes my 200mm f/4 lens a 540mm f/4!). But also the macro possibilities are exciting as well. That small 18MP sensor will capture a load of detail.
Also, I wanted to see how Nikon had improved the CX sensor’s low light performance. So far it is looking fantastic. The image above was taken at 3200 ISO and it looks very good. Both of these images here were transferred straight out of the camera with no post processing. So, on the first glance, the V3 looks like a super camera! I’m sure consumers who would likely buy an entry level DSLR will find the V3 sufficient for their needs and beyond. I’ll probably do a video review of this setup in the near future and discuss it in more detail. I’m impressed so far and the articulating touch screen is awesome! 😎
Ahem. I humbly start this post, firmly entrenched in the Nikon camp, but I have to say it: I formally recant pretty much every negative thing I’ve ever said about Canon. Ever. 😳
Pa got his new toy, the highly coveted Canon EOS 1D-X camera. For those who don’t know (where have you been?!?), it’s Canon’s flagship, top o’ the line, best camera ever. And it is, most definitely Canon’s finest camera to date. This camera is a beast! It’s nothing short of amazing. My chief complaints about Canon have been 1) Crappy Focusing and 2) Crummy LCDs. This camera addresses those issues and then some. This is not an in depth Camera Scientist review by any means, rather a quick 1st impressions post. And, the impressions are good. The focusing is incredible! Check the specs and see, there’s an entire processor dedicated to focusing alone. And it shows. With oodles of programable modes, you can tell the 1D-X exactly what you want it to do and how you want it to behave. It’s positively awesome.
Just check this out – you can customize the focus settings for several different cases, depending on what you’re photographing. In this case, Dad had a hummingbird setup in the back yard and so he went with this “Bring it on, sucker” focus mode. It’s unreal. The birds came into the frame and boom shakalaka, this camera nails the focus again and again and again. Check out one of his photos from his Flickr stream. There’s a whole set there of tremendous shots with more to come.
Certainly, you’d come to expect this kind of performance from a camera setup of this calibre. With the 500mm lens, it’s nearly diabolical! The shots are sharp and the focus is . . . fixed! 😉 And, the LCD on the back of the camera is more like an HDTV instead of watching colecovision. (Google it if you don’t know).
If you are a Canon fan and you’ve been waiting for this camera, it will be everything you’ve dreamed of and more. You’ll probably curse Canon a bit for moving the tried and true traditional button configuration around – (even I found that annoying as now it’s quasi counter intuitive). But the performance of this bad boy more than makes up for having to learn a new button liturgy.
I told Dad that he should go out and satisfy my curiosity about the focus system and shoot some motocross. If anything will stress the tracking features, MX certainly will. Being that he’s primarily a wildlife shooter, perhaps getting my brother to chase a herd of pronghorn antelope in front of the lens may be a more fitting focus test. I suspect that it won’t be much of a challenge anyways, the focus is just that good. During the hummingbird setup, we slapped on a teleconverter and I simply watched the wind flicking the honeysuckle blossoms in the wind through the viewfinder. The focus points tracked it back and forth with no intervention from me. It’s sweet!
So basically, that’s all I’m gonna touch on in this post. The Canonista Camera Scienticians will soon have incredibly detailed reviews out about this beast. I’m sure it’s ripping up the olympics right now too. Oh, one last comment, the ISO performance is awesome too – another great improvement. Being 18MP, it’s just about a perfect blend of resolution and noise performance. That extra bit of crop-ability is appreciated and the high ISO stuff looks good. 6400 was totally usable in my books and it goes up from there, waaaay up. But the image quality similarly decreases too. Can’t wait to see some head to head tests with the 1D-X & the new D4 from
the good guys Nikon! 😎
Ok Photo Geeks, here’s one for ya! My long overdue video review of the Photoflex Octodome NXT XS soft box. This thing is the bomb! It’s a really well made, super sweet portrait soft box that gives awesome octagon/round catchlights in the eyes. Gotta love that! Check out the vid and the samples below where it was used on photo shoots.
PS: I also added a new page at the top of the blog for gear reviews. The page has links to all the gear reviews and recommendations I’ve done on the blog, including books, lenses, lighting gear, organizing gear and D.I.Y. gear projects. 😎
Samples of the Octodome in action!
Gear Acquisition Syndrome! Yeppers, got my new lens today. Came in a couple days from The Camera Store in Calgary and, no pay-pay to ship-ship! 😎 This Nikon 16-35mm f/4 AF-S VR G ED IF N Aspherical lens is a stunner! All the reviews I read about it said it is sharp and they ain’t kiddin’! It’s spooky sharp. It’s spooky sharp wide open at f/4. Not many lenses are this good at their base aperture but this one is. I did some lens tests and the AF is bang on. I nabbed some quick hand held no VR shots of the kids and they peeled out of camera TACK-Smurfing-SHARP. And, the colours are rendered beautifully. I took this one of Ethan and it is straight out of camera. No editing at all, watermark aside. The camera is set to neutral too so the picture control is zeroed out. This lens is fantastic. I can’t wait to go nab some landscape shots with it. 😀
I also picked up a ThinkTank Retrospective 20 bag too. It’s a sweet bag, built to last forever (like everything ThinkTank makes) and its the perfect bag for events or light trips where I don’t want to bring all o’ my kit. I can get at least 3 lenses into it and 2 flashes, as well as a whole host of other goodies. It’s the cat’s pyjamas.
So, my lens collection is almost complete, nearly all gold rings. I’m fully prepared to go full frame now as all my lenses are FX compatible going from 16mm all the way to 300mm! Pretty much ready for anything. That’s a nice milestone to reach. Full reviews (probably video) to follow on the lens for sure. Tons of great vids on the ThinkTank bag on YouTube. Check it out!